Oakland Athletics – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-06-20T19:19:46Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Nick Hundley Undergoes Knee Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163211 2019-06-18T23:21:35Z 2019-06-18T22:52:48Z Injured Athletics catcher Nick Hundley underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday, per Martin Gallegos of MLB.com. He should return within six weeks, according to manager Bob Melvin (via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle).

The 35-year-old Hundley has been on the injured list with back spasms since June 8, so his knee issue is a new development. Before Hundley landed on the IL, the respected veteran got off to an underwhelming start, hitting .200/.233/.357 (55 wRC+) in 73 plate appearances. He struggled defensively in the process, according to Baseball Prospectus.

Hundley, an ex-Padre, Oriole, Rockie and Giant, joined the Athletics on a minor league deal in February. Prior to that, the A’s plan was for Josh Phegley and Chris Herrmann to comprise their two catchers at the outset of 2019. However, Herrmann underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in March, which paved the way for Hundley to earn a roster spot.

While Hundley hasn’t performed well to this point, the normally light-hitting Phegley has been surprisingly effective. He and Beau Taylor, whom the A’s selected from Triple-A Las Vegas when Hundley went down, look as if they’ll continue to handle backstop duties for Oakland for as long as Hundley’s out.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics To Sign Second-Rounder Tyler Baum ]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163132 2019-06-19T21:38:47Z 2019-06-18T03:19:54Z
  • The Athletics have agreed to a deal with second-round pick Tyler Baum, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com was among those to report. Baum’s pick (No. 66) features a $1,003,300 slot value, but the team gave him just $900K, Jim Callis of MLB.com tweets. His agreement means the A’s have now secured their top 11 selections. A right-hander from the University of North Carolina, Baum placed 100th in MLB.com’s pre-draft rankings. Callis and Jonathan Mayo note the 21-year-old Baum didn’t have a great final season at UNC. However, they add that all four of Baum’s pitches can be “solid or better,” potentially setting him up for a career as a No. 4 starter/late-game reliever.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Jesus Luzardo Heading To Triple-A On Rehab Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163024 2019-06-17T17:04:30Z 2019-06-17T16:26:56Z
  • We’ve known for a while that Jesus Luzardo would be on the move back toward the majors for the Athletics, but it remained to be seen how he’d look after a lengthy absence for shoulder problems. The youngster has only increased the excitement with his performance. He ran up nine strikeouts in four innings in his latest High-A appearance and earned a bump back up to Triple-A, as Martin Gallegos of MLB.com tweets. It’s still possible the 21-year-old could be held down for a while after he’s deemed at full health, but the A’s are surely also anxious to get him onto the MLB roster. There’s no word yet whether fellow rehabbing southpaw pitching prospect A.J. Puk will also move up to the highest level of the minors.
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    George Miller <![CDATA[Sean Manaea Nearing Rehab Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162971 2019-06-17T00:52:21Z 2019-06-17T00:52:21Z Athletics left-hander Sean Manaea may require just one more simulated game before he can begin a minor-league rehab assignment, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

    After undergoing shoulder surgery last September, Manaea was expected to miss the entirety of the 2019 season. However, Manaea is operating well ahead of schedule, and looks on track to return to the Athletics’ rotation this season. Slusser reported in March that Manaea was aiming to return around the All-Star Break in July, and it now appears that the left-hander is progressing well towards that goal, though there is not yet a precise timeline for Manaea to rejoin the A’s.

    Slusser notes that A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo, who recently began their own rehab assignments, are likely to return before Manaea, perhaps in early July. Though Puk and Luzardo have each yet to debut in the Major Leagues, both southpaws are widely regarded as MLB-ready prospects who would be pitching in Oakland were it not for untimely injuries.

    The addition of Puk, Luzardo, and Manaea would represent a considerable boon to an Athletics club that has essentially treaded water this season. After earning a Wild Card berth last year, the 36-36 Athletics have only managed to hover around .500, remaining on the periphery of the playoff race, but mostly looking like a longshot to rejoin the October fray. Welcoming the aforementioned trio of promising lefties would only help those odds, it would seem, considering the inconsistent starting pitching that has troubled Bob Melvin’s club all season.

    Manaea emerged last season as the Athletics’ best starter, pitching 160 2/3 innings for the A’s, ultimately working to a 3.59 ERA. Her peripheral numbers were slightly less impressive, but nonetheless painted Manaea as a valuable left-hander for a playoff club that wanted for starting options. He could slot into a 2019 rotation that has enjoyed a breakout season from Frankie Montas, as well as adequate showings from Chris Bassitt and Brett Anderson. If the three young left-handers can return quickly and make good on their potential, they could fuel a second-half surge in Oakland.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Stephen Piscotty Undergoes Surgery To Remove Melanoma From Ear]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162782 2019-06-16T18:47:07Z 2019-06-16T18:47:37Z TODAY: Piscotty could be available off the bench today and is tentatively scheduled to be in Monday’s starting lineup, Slusser tweets.

    FRIDAY: The Athletics announced startling news Friday on right fielder Stephen Piscotty, who underwent surgery to remove a melanoma from his right ear (full statement via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). Fortunately, the surgery was “successful,” according to the Athletics, who expect that Piscotty will be healthy enough to return to the team within a week.

    The tumor was spotted during what the A’s called “a routine spot check” on May 28, which led to a biopsy and then the 28-year-old Piscotty’s surgery. Piscotty asked team trainer Nick Paparesta to set up the initial appointment, per general manager David Forst (via Steve Kroner of the Chronicle).

    “We believe it was caught early, hopefully as a result of Stephen being vigilant,” Forst said.

    While no doubt a frightening experience for Piscotty, it’s a relief that he’ll seemingly recover from it at a quick pace. MLBTR joins those around the game in extending well wishes to Piscotty, whom we hope to see back on the field with the A’s soon.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Athletics, First-Rounder Logan Davidson Agree To Terms]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162673 2019-06-14T15:29:02Z 2019-06-14T15:29:02Z The Athletics have agreed to terms with Logan Davidson, their top pick in the 2019 draft, according to Jim Callis of MLB.com (via Twitter). A shortstop out of Clemson, Davidson will receive the full slot value of his No. 29 overall selection — a $2,424,600 bonus.

    Davidson, 21, hit .291/.412/.574 with 15 home runs, 18 doubles, two triples and 17 stolen bases (in 20 attempts) during his junior year at Clemson. This marks the second time he’s been selected in the draft, as the Phillies picked him in the 30th round back in 2016 but were unable to persuade him to forgo his college commitment.

    Heading into the draft, the team at Baseball America was most bullish on Davidson, ranking him 19th on their Top 500. He checked in at No. 21 at MLB.com, No. 27 per ESPN’s Keith Law and No. 29 at Fangraphs. BA praises Davidson as a legitimate shortstop with power and speed while noting that there are questions surrounding his hit tool. Callis and colleague Jonathan Mayo wrote in their report at MLB.com that if scouts were convinced Davidson will hit with a wood bat, he might’ve been the first college shortstop off the board. Concerns surrounding Davidson’s performance with wood bats in last summer’s Cape Cod League are a recurring theme, but the general upside of his power, speed and glove at shortstop nonetheless made him a consensus first-round talent in pre-draft projections.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[A.J. Puk, Jesus Luzardo Impress In Rehab Debuts]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162323 2019-06-12T11:32:49Z 2019-06-12T11:32:49Z A pair of highly talented Athletics lefties returned to competitive action yesterday after long layoffs. Prospects A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo each began injury rehab assignments last night, appearing for the High-A Stockton Ports.

    That news is quite promising on its own. Better still for the A’s, the southpaw duo looked to be in fine form. As Tyler Maun of MiLB.com writes, both hurlers impressed in 33-pitch piggyback appearances.

    Puk came out blazing in his first competitive work since the 2017 season, working in the upper nineties with his acclaimed heater. He ultimately ran up four strikeouts in two frames while permitting one run on one hit — a home run from highly regarded Giants prospect Heliot Ramos.

    It’s excellent to see that Puk has regained his arm speed since undergoing Tommy John surgery. He underwent the procedure in April of 2011, temporarily halting what was likely to be a quick run through the Oakland farm system. Puk, who went sixth overall in the 2016 draft, had been expected to make his way to the majors early in the 2018 campaign after an impressive showing in MLB camp that year.

    The story isn’t altogether different for Luzardo, who featured in a similar role in the spring of 2019. He also had hopes of a swift rise to the majors dashed by injury. In his case, shoulder troubles caused the team to order a shutdown late in camp. The organization understandably set a cautious course for the 21-year-old hurler.

    Last night, Luzardo spun three scoreless frames. He struck out two, with Ramos among the victims, while logging 24 strikes in his 33 pitches. That’s efficient work from the precocious hurler, who is known most for his exceptional feel and command over his three-pitch arsenal.

    Where things go from here will depend upon quite a few factors, including the way that Puk and Luzardo recover from their first big tests. There’s little question that they’ll be tasked with multiple additional rehab starts while they build up their pitch counts and the club evaluates their readiness. But it’s hard not to dream on successive MLB debuts as soon as early July.

    “I just know that they’re going to be throwing pretty consistently now until the end of the year,” Stockton pitching coach Chris Smith says. “The gloves are off. They want to see those kids hit the ground running.”

    That’s an encouraging takeaway for A’s fans. These exciting young pitchers still have hurdles to clear before reaching the majors, but that goal is now clearly in sight. Adding them to a generally subpar rotation mix would completely change the complexion of the Oakland pitching staff. Whether that’ll occur remains to be seen, but the A’s ought to have a good sense before the trade deadline.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[The Oakland Ace?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162083 2019-06-10T23:35:32Z 2019-06-10T23:35:32Z The Athletics haven’t seen one of their starters post a sub-3.00 ERA in a season since left-hander Rich Hill accomplished the feat in 2016, albeit during a truncated run in their uniform. Hill fired 76 innings of 2.25 ERA/2.54 FIP ball that year before the out-of-contention A’s sent him and outfielder Josh Reddick to the Dodgers for a three-player package. Now, three years later, one part of the Athletics’ return is on track for the top season an A’s starter has put up since Hill’s exit.

    When he joined the A’s in the Hill trade, right-hander Frankie Montas ranked as Baseball America’s 82nd-best prospect. Despite Montas’ high upside, it was already the third deal involving him since he signed with the Red Sox in 2010 as a free agent from the Dominican Republic. The Red Sox traded Montas to the White Sox in 2013 in a large, three-team swap which delivered righty Jake Peavy to Boston. Two years after that, the ChiSox flipped Montas to the Dodgers in yet another three-club trade – this time to land third baseman Todd Frazier.

    While Montas has been somewhat nomadic as a professional, it appears the 26-year-old has found a home in Oakland. Montas didn’t pitch in his first year with the organization because of a rib injury, and he then registered inconsistent results between the majors and minors in 2017. However, in logging a 3.88 ERA/3.90 FIP in 65 major league innings last season, Montas pitched his way into the A’s 2019 rotation. They’re now the beneficiaries of an ace-like version of Montas, who has amassed 76 innings of 2.84 ERA/3.04 FIP ball to emerge as one of the majors’ breakout starters.

    Montas’ quality run prevention last year came with fewer than six strikeouts per nine innings, but that figure has rocketed to 9.36 this season. Meanwhile, Montas is walking fewer hitters (2.37 per nine, down from 2.91), generating far more ground balls (51.4 percent now versus 43.7 in 2018) and inducing significantly more infield flies (11.7 percent, up from 4.5). Unsurprisingly given those numbers, home runs haven’t haunted Montas, who has yielded HRs on 10 percent of fly balls. So the A’s have a starter who racks up strikeouts, seldom walks anyone, keeps the ball on the ground and stops it from leaving in the ballpark. That sounds a lot like the 2016 version of Hill, which is a high compliment.

    The question is: How is Montas doing this? Well, it helps when you’re one of the hardest-throwing starters in baseball. His high-spin four-seam fastball clocks in at upward of 97 mph, which ranks fifth in the game and just ahead of stars Gerrit Cole, Walker Buehler and Jacob deGrom. Hitters have mustered an unimposing .279 weighted on-base average versus Montas’ four-seamer, and they’ve done even worse against his slider (.198) and splitter (.243), according to Statcast. Montas throws each of those pitches at least 17 percent of the time, but he relies primarily on his sinker (38.6 percent). It’s a drastically different repertoire than Montas offered in 2018, when his sinker (55.4 percent) was his go-to pitch. He also occasionally featured a changeup that’s no longer in the picture.

    Of course, altering your pitch mix doesn’t guarantee stardom. You’d better be able to command those pitches, too. Montas has to this point. Heatmaps via FanGraphs (2018, 2019) indicate he’s doing a better job keeping his pitches down and locating fewer of them in the middle of the plate compared to last season. In the process, Montas has thrown more strikes in general, raised his swinging-strike rate from 8.6 percent to 11.1, fooled more hitters into chasing his offerings outside the zone and dropped his contact rate against by nearly 5 percent. When hitters have made contact off Montas, it hasn’t been particularly damaging, and that doesn’t look as if it’s going to change. After all, his xwOBA against (.283) is even better than the nonthreatening .292 wOBA batters have managed so far. Beyond that, there’s nothing unusual in the .306 batting average on balls in play Montas has surrendered.

    When Oakland unexpectedly earned a wild-card berth in 2018, it used reliever Liam Hendriks as an opener because it was lacking a front-line starter. Hendriks ended up enduring a rough outing during a loss for the Athletics, who are once again in wild-card contention. And if the A’s make it back to the one-game playoff this year, they just may be able to turn to an ace-like hurler in Montas.

    Regardless of how the team’s season shakes out, it looks as though it has a long-term building block in Montas. The fact that Montas will make a minimal salary through next season and isn’t scheduled to become a free agent until after 2023 is all the better for the low-budget A’s, who also have no shortage of other promising starters. While Sean Manaea, Jesus Luzardo A.J. Puk, James Kaprielian and Jharel Cotton have all dealt with notable injuries of late, the ability is evident in each case. With at least some members of that group eventually slated to join Montas in Oakland, the club may be on the cusp of boasting a controllable, talent-rich rotation.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Place Nick Hundley On IL, Select Beau Taylor]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=161840 2019-06-08T22:22:35Z 2019-06-08T22:19:09Z The Athletics have placed catcher Nick Hundley on the 10-day injured list with back spasms and selected the contract of fellow backstop Beau Taylor from Triple-A Las Vegas, per a team announcement.

    Hundley, whom Oakland signed to a minor league contract in February, made its roster but got off to a miserable start prior to his IL placement. The 35-year-old hit just .200/.233/.357 (55 wRC+) in 73 plate appearances before landing on the shelf. Nevertheless, he and Josh Phegley are the only Athletics catchers who have logged playing time this season.

    A fifth-round pick of the A’s in 2011, Taylor experienced a brief stint with the club in 2018 but only picked up six PA. The A’s then outrighted Taylor on Nov. 5, only to re-sign him to a minor league deal a week later. The 28-year-old slashed an excellent .297/.450/.492 (141 wRC+) with five home runs and 33 walks against 38 strikeouts in 151 PA as a member of the team’s Triple-A affiliate before it called him back up.

    Ty Bradley <![CDATA[A.J. Puk, Jesus Luzardo Set To Begin Minor-League Rehab Stints]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=161833 2019-06-08T21:49:13Z 2019-06-08T21:49:13Z Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, A’s lefties A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo will each begin a rehab stint on Tuesday with High-A Stockton. Puk will be making his first live-game mound appearance since undergoing Tommy John Surgery last April, while Luzardo, who’d been dealing with left shoulder soreness, will appear in an official game for the first time since last August.

    Puk, a 6’7 lefty who was the sixth overall pick in the 2016 draft, had laid waste to the minors before his injury in the Spring of last season. His “double-plus” fastball and “vicious” (adjectives per Baseball America) slider allowed him to post double-digit strikeout rates in each of his three minor-league stops, culminating in a 61-inning stint for Double-A Midland in which the U of Florida product set down 86 batters in just 64 innings. It’ll surely be a lengthy rehab process for the projected ace, though it appears the club will use him in relief should he crack the majors this season.

    Luzardo, a 21-year-old Peruvian-born hurler, was acquired in mid-2017 from Washington with Blake Treinen for relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle. Little known at the time of the deal, Luzardo has rocketed up prospect lists after dominating performances of his own the last two seasons. Baseball America ranked him as the top lefty in the minors after 2018, waxing especially thorough on his changeup, which the site ranks as one of the minors’ best. Shoulder injuries are always cause for serious concern, but if Luzardo can make it through his first few outings unscathed, he’ll be a strong candidate to crack what’s been a middling A’s rotation thus far.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Jharel Cotton Undergoes Hamstring Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=161530 2019-06-07T05:02:12Z 2019-06-07T04:49:59Z 11:49pm: Not only do the Athletics believe Cotton will pitch again this season, but they’re confident he will return “at a fairly rapid pace,” team trainer Nick Paparesta said (via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). Cotton will begin throwing again in a week to 10 days, per Paparesta.

    5:06pm: The Athletics announced Thursday that right-hander Jharel Cotton underwent right hamstring debridement surgery earlier today. He’ll remain in Dallas, where the operation was performed, until a followup appointment next week before returning to Oakland to continue his rehab.

    Cotton hasn’t pitched in 2019, as he’s been on the mend from Tommy John surgery he underwent last spring. He’d gone out on a rehab assignment and was expected to return to the club as a reliever, but today’s surgery obviously clouds his potential return. It’s not fully clear now when he’ll be activated — or even if he can be expected back in 2019 at all. Presumably, the Athletics will provide a further timetable once they have more information.

    The 27-year-old Cotton came to the A’s alongside Frankie Montas and Grant Holmes in the 2016 trade that sent Rich Hill and Josh Reddick to the Dodgers. To this point, the righty has yet to find much consistency in the big leagues, although he’s certainly shown glimpses of his potential. He’s a former top 100 prospect with 158 1/3 innings of 4.95 ERA ball under his belt, averaging 7.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 along the way.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Paul Blackburn To Make Season Debut For Athletics]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=161266 2019-06-05T19:23:34Z 2019-06-05T11:22:18Z
  • It looks like Athletics hurler Paul Blackburn will get his first shot at MLB action this year, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that he’s likely to come onto the roster to pitch this weekend. Blackburn, 25, has pitched to a 4.48 ERA in 16 starts over the prior two seasons but has remained on optional assignment at Triple-A to begin the present campaign. He carries a 4.55 ERA in 57 1/3 innings there, recording a 45:18 K/BB ratio and surrendering ten long balls.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Pause Jharel Cotton’s Rehab Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=160789 2019-06-02T04:54:30Z 2019-06-02T04:54:30Z Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton has been working back from Tommy John surgery since March 2018, and recent reports indicated he was progressing toward a return.

    Unfortunately, Cotton’s now dealing with a new injury – a right hamstring strain – which has forced the Athletics to halt his rehab assignment, Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The A’s will shut down Cotton “for the time being,” manager Bob Melvin said.

    When he has been healthy enough to take the mound, the 27-year-old Cotton has functioned as a full-time starter. He debuted with the Athletics back in 2016, the summer they acquired him and two fellow righties (Frankie Montas and Grant Holmes) from the Dodgers for lefty Rich Hill and outfielder Josh Reddick. Cotton then proceeded to make 29 starts with Oakland through the 2017 season. However, after an impressive five-start run in ’16, Cotton fell flat across 24 outings two years ago. In all, Cotton owns a 4.95 ERA/5.32 FIP with 7.28 K/9, 3.24 BB/9 and a 37.1 percent groundball rate in 158 1/3 innings.

    Considering Cotton’s coming off a severe injury and hasn’t thrived as a starter, the A’s are likely to bring him back as a reliever when he’s good to return. Now, though, it doesn’t appear Cotton will be back in the majors in the very near future.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[A's Notes: Khrush, Manaea, Luzardo, Estrada]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=160722 2019-06-02T01:31:22Z 2019-06-02T01:30:56Z The Athletics are welcoming designated hitter Khris Davis back from the 10-day injured list on Saturday, the team announced. The slugger hasn’t taken an at-bat since May 21 because of a left hip/oblique contusion. In further positive news for the A’s, injured hurlers Sean Manaea, Jesus Luzardo and Marco Estrada are all making progress, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports (Twitter links here). Manaea, recovering from the left shoulder surgery he underwent last September, will throw live batting practice Tuesday. The promising prospect Luzardo threw a two-inning, 30-pitch sim game Saturday, after which A’s manager Bob Melvin offered an encouraging update. Luzardo hasn’t pitched this season on account of a rotator cuff strain in his left shoulder, while Estrada has been down since mid-April because of a back problem. Estrada will start playing catch Monday and isn’t far from beginning a regular throwing program, Gallegos relays.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Last Season’s 2 Best Closers Have Fallen Off]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=160406 2019-05-31T01:16:16Z 2019-05-31T01:16:16Z Right-handers Edwin Diaz and Blake Treinen were unquestionably the two best closers in baseball in 2018. And unless you want to make an argument for dominant Brewers lefty Josh Hader, Diaz and Treinen were likely the game’s top two relievers period. However, a couple months into the 2019 season, they’re no longer running roughshod over their competition.

    In what proved to be his final season in Seattle, where he burst on the scene in 2016, Diaz tossed 73 1/3 innings and notched a 1.96 ERA/1.61 FIP with an eye-popping 57 saves in 61 attempts. Along the way, the flamethrower ranked fourth among relievers in K/9 (15.22) and 15th in BB/9 (2.09), leading to the league’s fourth-best K/BB ratio (7.29). He also trailed only Hader in swinging-strike percentage (18.9).

    Despite Diaz’s incredible performance, the retooling Mariners deemed him expendable in the offseason. Seattle sent the 25-year-old to the Mets in an earth-shattering December trade that saved the M’s a ton of money and improved their farm system.

    No doubt, the Mets expected Diaz to be the driving force behind a much-improved bullpen in 2019. To this point of the season, Diaz has perhaps been the Mets’ premier late-game option, but their bullpen has been a weak unit overall. For his part, the 25-year-old Diaz has been closer to the pitcher he was in 2017, when he was good but not otherworldly.

    Diaz’s most recent outing, which came Wednesday against the Dodgers, surely counts among the worst of his career. He entered the game with an 8-5 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning and proceeded to allow six straight base runners amid a stunning collapse. Diaz yielded four earned runs on five hits (two home runs) and an intentional walk in what turned into a 9-8 loss for New York. The only batter he retired, Alex Verdugo, hit the game-winning sacrifice fly. The defeat left Diaz with a 3.22 ERA after he entered it with a 1.64 mark.

    It’s easy to look at the shiny ERA Diaz had prior to Wednesday and attribute it to one bad performance. Similarly, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to say his .347 batting average on balls in play has been unlucky. However, the reality is that there are concerns across the board.

    Diaz’s FIP (3.99) is up almost a run and a half since last year, while his weighted on-base average/expected wOBA against has risen from .214/.215 to .324/.289. It doesn’t help that Diaz’s strikeout rate has plummeted. After fanning 44.3 percent of batters in his Seattle swan song, Diaz has fallen to 36.1 in his introduction to New York. Beyond that, Diaz’s swinging-strike, line drive, hard/soft contact and chase rates have also gone in the wrong direction. He’s not keeping the ball on the ground as much either, which has led to newfound home run troubles. Diaz has already given up as many HRs as last season (five) through 51 fewer innings (22 1/3), and he’s now halfway to 2018 in blown saves (two).

    Treinen, who made good on 38 of 43 attempts in 2018, has joined Diaz in failing on two tries so far this season. The 30-year-old may have been even better than Diaz in ’18, when he compiled a ridiculous 0.78 ERA/1.82 FIP across 80 1/3 innings. Treinen’s strikeout and walk rates (11.2 and 2.35 per nine) were excellent, albeit not as great as Diaz’s, as was his 51.9 percent groundball rate. But Treinen, who has significantly cut back his sinker and slider usage, is at 9.55, 3.95 and 40.3 in those categories this season. Meanwhile, Treinen’s ERA/FIP is up to 3.62/3.87 and his wOBA/xwOBA against has shot from .187/.214 to .313/.298.

    What are some of the factors behind Treinen’s drop-off? Well, the .230 BABIP batters logged against him a year ago has moved to a more reasonable .306. At the same time, he’s not stranding as many base runners, having gone from an 85.9 percent left-on-base rate to 79.9. Furthermore, the right-hander is generating fewer swinging strikes, getting fewer out-of-zone swings and giving up more hard contact than he did last season. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Treinen, like Diaz, has had more difficulty keeping the ball in the park. Just two balls left the yard then against Treinen, who has allowed three through 27 1/3 innings in 2019.

    While Diaz and Treinen have recorded disappointing numbers this season, the letdown is largely as a result of the utter brilliance they displayed last year. Any team in the majors would still take either hurler, though their current clubs – both of which are playoff hopefuls – may need more from them if they’re going to earn postseason bids.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.